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4.5 days to go…

December 14, 2009

It is Day 8 of COP15, 4.5 days left before the end of negotiations.

Walking into Bella Center, the site of COP15, there’s a buzz of energy everywhere. It’s time for our negotiators to start acting concretely.

But progress seems to be stark.

Just this morning, poor countries boycotted the Plenary Session due to concerns that the Kyoto Protocol would be abandoned giving way to rich countries’ demands for a brand new climate treaty to replace Kyoto.

While a majority (mostly developing countries) wants to see a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, developed ones prefer a merging of the two tracks of duty. Annex 1 nations, consisting of industrialized nations, are under binding requirements to cut down emission levels.

Further to this, over 110 head of states are due to arrive this week including the heads of top polluting states US, India and China. How far their presence will help in bringing forth a stronger agreement within the next 4 days is again questionable.

To summarize, India has stated that it will not offer more than its current pledge of reducing production by 20 to 25% by 2020. China does not want to be bound legally into cutting carbon emissions but will do so voluntarily. It has however, pledged to cut its carbon intensity by 40% to 45% by 2020, compared with 2005 levels though it is unclear on how this will impact absolute carbon emissions espcially with its economic growth over time.

Rich nations want developing nations to limit emissions, with or without financial help as opposed to developing nation’s statement that they will only do so with the presence of aid. Though the US and EU have called for $10 billion a year for developing states from 2010 to 2012, it has been criticized as being inadequate for adaptation.

Further, any outcome from Copenhagen will be dubious if it is not legally binding. As aptly stated by Bjorn Lomborg, a business professor of the Copenhagen Business school.

“My problem with this conference is that we’ll promise again to cut carbon, we’ll make a grand document, and then actually won’t live up to it,” Lomborg said in an interview. (Quoted from Bloomberg)

In midst of all this, more have arrived at Bella Center. Entry is now restricted with only a couple of hundreds of passes for thousands of NGO members actively pushing for a variety of causes (90 from this Friday). With less voice pushing for a stronger agreement within the conference area, let’s hope that all we have pushed for to protect our survival is remembered and that our negotiators ultimately lives up to our hopes and expectations.

 Live from COP15


ECO Singapore

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